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Celebrating International Translation Day 2020 Amid the Crisis

Translators and interpreters have their work cut out for them in 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The celebration of the International Translation Day this year will be more memorable, as the importance of translators today is in focus.

Each year, International Translation Day has a theme. This year the theme is finding the words for a world in crisis. The Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs (FIT) or the International Federation of Translators leads the celebration and regularly holds a poster competition based on the theme.

The FIT is an international organization of translator, terminologist, and interpreter associations. It has affiliates of over 130 training institutes and professional associations, comprising more than 85,000 translators located in 55 countries. The promotion of professionalism in their specific disciplines is the goal of the International Federation of Translators.

The FIT wants to emphasize the importance of translators’ work in ensuring that correct information is disseminated to everyone, bridging the local and global language barriers.

The celebration of International Translation Day becomes more meaningful today because translators are in the front line of the health crisis that affects almost everyone. This is the time to laud all the work the translators and interpreters are doing today to help various organizations and communities worldwide come together to find solutions to stop the pandemic.

Overview of International Translation Day

September 30 is the feast day of St. Jerome, the patron saint of translators. He is best known as the translator of the Bible from Hebrew to Latin. The International Federation of Translators, which was established in 1953, has been promoting the celebration since its inception. The organization launched the idea of having the International Translation Day in 1991, aiming to show the translation community’s solidarity worldwide. The organization’s objective to have an official day is to promote the profession in countries worldwide, since globalization is rapidly progressing.

In 2017, the United Nations passed resolution 71/288. It recognizes the last day of September as the day to celebrate the work of translators and interpreters. The resolution states that the special day is the chance to commend language professionals’ work in strengthening security and peace in the world, contributing to world development, enabling cooperation, understanding, and dialogue, and bringing nations together.

It also recognizes the positive influence of language professionals in interpersonal communication and international public discussions.

Ways of celebrating International Translation Day

Translators and interpreters around the world have different ways of celebrating their special day. The United Nations alone typically lines up seven events for the occasions, which happen around the world, such as at the UN Headquarters in New York, the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Africa. The UN likewise sponsors a St. Jerome Translation Contest annually.

Many professional organizations hold their events. Some hold reading events of popular translated books and help at bookstores. Some provide free linguistic services to development and humanitarian agencies, or special contents such as a “Translation Marathon” in selected language pairs.

Others carry out outreach programs in communities and schools, talking about their profession and educating students and teachers on the different aspects of being a translator or interpreter.

Language professionals around the world post information regarding their role in global communication on social media. Clients and professionals show their support by posting information about the work of interpreters and translators.

The American Translators Association (ATA) has created a two-minute animated video showing what translators and interpreters did in 2019. The video is available on ATA’s social media channels, such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. You can also view the video on the International Translation Day page of the ATA website. The ATA has produced several informative materials since 2018.

Honoring translators and interpreters worldwide

International Translation Day is a day to boost awareness about the importance of interpreting and translation. Likewise, it opens the way to a better understanding of what the language professionals contribute to the communities worldwide.

The celebration of International Translation Day is a salute to the men and women who work behind the scenes to facilitate communication, disseminate the right information, and promote understanding between people speaking different languages. It is also a day to recognize their contribution, particularly during times of crisis.

The United Nations is one of the biggest organizations that utilize the services of language professionals. Since 2005, the UN celebrates the feast day of St. Jerome by holding a contest. The organization invites students from partner universities, permanent missions staff accredited with the UN, and all international organizations’ staff to participate in the UN St. Jerome Translation Contest. Participants vie to win the best translation in German, Spanish, Russian, French, English, Chinese, and Arabic.

The contest’s objective is to promote multilingualism and focus on the multilateral diplomacy support these language professionals provide.

2020 is a tumultuous and strange time. This year’s celebration of the International Translation Day focuses on the heavy load, and the critical role translators and interpreters hold in a world that is in crisis.

This year’s theme highlights the need of the world for access to and visibility of language professionals. The crisis brought forth the expertise of translators and interpreters in battling the pandemic. The demand for medical translation and interpreting increased, and the media has recognized the importance of language professionals’ role today.

The FIT and other professional organizations, such as FIT Europe, the European Commission, and the International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters are running visibility campaigns to highlight the work of language professionals. While they work online, these organizations aim to make the language professionals and their work more recognized and understood by the public.

Happy International Translation Day

We at eTranslation Services join the international community in celebrating the International Translation Day. As fellow language professionals, we understand the heavy load we carry on our shoulders because of the ongoing pandemic. We assure our clients that we are always ready to meet their language services requirements. Our native-speaking translators live in-country, and we can easily connect you with any of them. You can send in your translation require through email at [email protected]. You can also reach us at (800) 882-6058 if you find this more convenient.

Happy International Translation Day to our fellow language professionals worldwide!


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